What the… ?

the painting at the top is of valentia island.  i did it in watercolor 20 years ago, and it hangs over my sister’s bed in dublin.

at the end of march 2008 my sister, who has been living in ireland for a decade, got married. my entire family went over to ireland from several different countries, and we all got together for the first time since my brother buddy got married ten years ago.

since i’d been there and most of them hadn’t, my brother mike agreed to look at a sample itinerary of my favorite routes, if i should write it.

so i sat down on the computer with the directions page of google maps, and designed routes from dubin to points west and back. boy did i have fun. i just love the satellite views.

and then i got to annotate the directions with further information, and i think that’s fun, and i got to put in some paintings i did of particular stops on the itinararies, and that was neat, and i got to think over the last time i was there, and that was great.

and while we were there i had to do some emergency itineraries for drastically changed plans, and had no way but the blog to transmit this information to whichever family member was on the road with their laptop. so that was cool.

it was great fun, and tho nobody used much of any of the work, it was still good to do, and you never know who’s going to need it someday.

2009. my focus has since changed. my family no longer need me.

i’m going to be chronicling an art residency in the west of ireland. i’m taking a laptop and the local post office has an internet connection, so not i’m planning to blog my residency as it happens. in an interesting twist, i’m going to be able to trade messages with my husband jim by writing blog entries, and he’ll be able to comment back. i won’t be able to phone home, so this seems like it’ll work pretty well. what i want to know is why is the internet connection in the post office instead of the pub?

my residency runs from october 7 to the 29th, which is roughly three weeks. barely enough time to get some serious art done.

i will be doing fabric work and other art, including writing, while at cill rialaig, which is an artist colony on the side of bolus head, overlooking north america. i discuss my fabric work here.

2010.  my focus has again changed.  i’m no longer worried that we’ll all catch our deaths of swine cold.

in the midst of the uncertainty last year, i rescheduled my stay in the back of beyond.  i’m going to be there for most of the month of september instead, and expect much better weather, tho you never know, and i’m going to be propitiating the rain god while i’m there (which ritual i won’t discuss on a blog).

last year i felt more anxious, more desperate.  i was insistent on doing as much work, getting as deep into the creative flow, being as alone as possible, to justify traveling thousands of miles away from a studio that will be much more familiar and comfortable.  but we know how much studio work i get done when actually i sit on the computer all day…

so this year the focus is not so relentlessly on work.  this year i’m inviting people to come visit me.  why should i be the only one in paradise?  my sister will be welcomed more than to drop me off and pick me up – she can come visit in the middle of my stay.  and my friend kay.  and marie and walter.  and renee.  and diarmuid and mary.  and francis.  and dallas and emma.  and kerstin, and scott.  i’m sort of counting on most of them not showing up, but i’m arranging to pack in a spare bed.  and a sleeping bag.  and people will be requested to pack in some extra food.

of course, they’re all going to have to get there.  and even if you start at limerick airport, it’s a little bit daunting.  you can take the train from dublin or limerick (from dublin the fare is 70 euro one way), and get off at killarney and take a bus (you want the kerry – killarney-waterville bus) to waterville, 16 euro, get off and have a pint at butlers arms, and then hitch or hire a taxi all the way over to ballinskelligs.  have another drink at the first pub you see and ask them where the cill rialaig (kill really) artist village is.  stop at every pub and ask where it is, just in case the fairies have moved it since last you heard.  it goes without saying that you must have a pint at every pub you ask at.  unless it’s a warm day and you want some cider, or it’s a wicked day and you need some hot whisky.  because if you have to walk from waterville, it’s 23 kilometers, and it’s going to take some time. if you get dropped off at the main road, at farranahow, which is the turning you take if you’re coming from killarney, then it’s a good 15 km, and will take a couple of hours of good walking.  if you only have to walk from ballinskelligs, you’ll want to savor every last inch because of your beautiful surroundings.

thanks ian gallagher the view over boolakeel, back toward beyond

November 2010.  i’m back; the time passed too quickly, it was paradise in every way, but i’m home now.  after a glitch with my photo files is solved, i’ll have a lot of diary entries and photos, and up on you-tube will be a whole lot of 30 second panoramas out over ballinskelligs bay.  but that’s still getting organized.

March, 2013.  this time it’s a residency in iceland, because i’m writing a novel about antarctica, and iceland is the closest i can get.  wish me luck.

March, 2015.  i’m in venice, italy, with my husband jim and my grandson connor.  we’ve been here since mid-january, and will be going home mid-april.  in the meantime, we’re collecting material for the art we do, as well as doing paintings of venice.  i’m also thinking up the plot for a novel about venice, because why not.


  1. What does a cab cost? I’m not certain I’m up to backpacking my way in over 20 km!


    • no idea. try contacting the people at butler’s arms in waterville to find out. it’s no joke carrying a sewing machine for miles. i did it once with a portable typewriter…


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